Engineering and Computer Science Faculty Publications


A Study on Propeller Performance of a Fuel Cell Powered Propulsion System

Document Type


Publication Date


First Page


Last Page





The internal combustion engines that are widely used as power sources nowadays emits hazardous emissions that can cause negative consequences on the environment and society such as pollution and climate change. Transportation industries are starting to rely on the renewable energy as the alternative energy sources for the future. Fuel cells are a promising alternative power source for vehicles because of their high specific energy, efficiency, and reliability. Hydrogen proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells produce zero carbon emissions. The electrochemical processes that generate power exhaust only water vapor and heat. Fuel cell research for aircraft is relatively new. Therefore, there is a need for a thorough study on the development of the fuel cell powered aircraft. A five meter wingspan unmanned aerial vehicle technology demonstrator, called Kenyalang-l, was recently developed at Universiti Teknologi MARA. A Horizon H-1000 PEM fuel with a maximum power of 1 kW was used as the primary power plant for its DC brushless motor propulsion system. The system was tested in ground-based static tests. The objective of the research that is reported in this paper is to obtain the performance characteristic of the fuel cell propulsion system. The data collected from these tests includes the output voltage, output current, power, thrust, and rotational speed of the system. Results and analysis of this data were used to characterize the effectiveness of the fuel cell propulsion system. The results obtained indicate that the thrust of the propeller is directly proportional to output power generated by the fuel cell.


PEM fuel cell, propeller performance, propulsion system, static test